Barbera d’Alba 2019
Barbera is a delicate and demanding grape varietal. A meticulous search throughout the area for the very best soils, agronomical decisions and particular attention to vinification enable Sandrone to reveal the very best qualities of this wine. Barbera d’Alba is made to be a medium-weight wine that will drink well for a decade. It shows delicious and plump berry and black fruits. As Barbera possesses almost no natural tannins, the use of tonneaux gives the wine some much-needed structure. It is a perfect match with rich winter dishes as the bright acidity keeps it from being too heavy.
The Sandrone Barbera d’Alba comes from three vineyards: Merli and Rocche di San Nicola in Novello, and Cascina Pe Mol in Monforte d’Alba. The Sandrone section of the Merli is a south-southwest facing bowl that catches the afternoon light perfectly. The wines made from here are earthy and robust, but with good aromatic complexity. Rocche di San Nicola is an extremely steep vineyard at the very end of the Novello promontory, just above the tall clay cliffs that plunge down to the streambed that flows toward Monchiero. It receives incredible sun and heat and is almost constantly breezy; it is thus perfectly situated for Barbera, which thrives in these conditions. The crumbling farmhouse (cascina) of Pe Mol sits at the top of the ridge leading from Monforte d’Alba to the hamlet of Perno and is among the highest vineyards in the region. Because it sits at the top of the ridge, it is unsuitable for Nebbiolo, a fickle plant which abhors windy conditions. At the top of the ridge, Barbera thrives, and slightly down the slope are excellent plantings of Dolcetto. From this lofty perch one can see the Monte Bianco, the Monte Rosa and the Cervino on a clear day (Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn, respectively).
Each vineyard is vinified separately. After destemming and light crushing, the must is covered with CO2 for a gentle warm maceration of approximately a day. Alcoholic fermentation begins about 24-36 hours later from native yeasts. A gentle maceration takes place in upright open-top steel tanks for the first 8-10 days of alcoholic fermentation. Immediately after alcoholic fermentation, which takes around 20 days, malolactic fermentation takes place in 500 liter French oak casks. The wine is aged in these casks for 12 months, followed by 9 months bottle aging. Around 1,800 cases are produced in a typical vintage.
A wet late winter and early spring replenished the water tables. Budbreak was late March in the normal timeframe.
Heat arrived after the flowering in late June for 10 days, which helped with the berry set. The rest of the vegetative cycle was cooler than normal except for another 10 days of moderate heat just before the veraison. Intermittent rains throughout the summer refreshed the plants and ground cover vegetation.
A water bomb on the 5 September brought hail to some parts of the Barolo and Barbaresco areas, luckily, none of the Sandrone vineyards were affected, though the hail passed about 500 meters from the Baudana vineyard sites. From the 6 September on conditions were perfect thru the rest of the harvest period, with warm, dry days and cool, refreshing nights.
The vineyards that provide fruit for Valmaggiore and the Barbera shook off the excess rain, dried out in a few days, and continued their march toward optimum ripeness. Barbera and Nebbiolo both benefit from these conditions as they allow for optimum balance between fruit and acid.
The harvest took place from September
23rd until October 5th.
The cool 2019 growing cycle gave us a Barbera of good acidity, rich black fruit and mineral elements. The wine shows the beautiful pulpy purple color so typical of Barbera. On the nose black and red fruits are framed by hints of new wood (but very muted at 25% new).
2019 does not have the volume and lift of a year like 2015, 2011 or 2007, but instead displays the classic side of Barbera to great advantage. It is very lively on the palate and jumps on the tongue with brightness.
The 2019 Barbera should be an excellent match with rich foods like roast pork or a lasagne with béchamel. It is a precise, focused Barbera of great purity.
Follows organic farming but has chosen not to seek certification. Minimal quantities of Bordeaux mixture and sulfur (as allowed per organic practices) are used to control mold and fungus, and fertilization every 4-6 years occurs with composted manure from dairy cows.
Suggested Retail Price
Other Wines by this Producer
Le Vigne is a wine created from four different Nebbiolo vineyards, each of which brings its own contribution. This union generates an exceptionally complex wine that is round and harmonious on the palate, with fruity and spicy notes, and this approach of blending together plots is in fact the traditional one in Barolo.
A combination of the names of Luciano Sandrone's grandchildren ALEssia and STEfano, ALESTE is the new name for Luciano's first wine, the Barolo Cannubi Boschis, which garnered early acclaim with the international trade and press. This single-vineyard wine is typically dense and concentrated, but shows incredible harmony and balance.
Valmaggiore is the product of Luciano’s incredible passion for the Nebbiolo grape variety and its different expression. Just 15 miles away from Barolo, in the Roero region, Nebbiolo produces a lighter structure and ripe, smooth tannins that are not unlike those of Pinot Noir. This is not a “baby Barolo” or a second wine at all – it is a distinct interpretation of Nebbiolo from a completely distinct geographic zone.
Sandrone's Dolcetto d’Alba is produced using Dolcetto grapes from 11 different vineyards, all within the Barolo DOCG. Sandrone’s Dolcetto sees no time in wood and is a remarkably robust and complex example of the variety.